PHILADELPHIA -- A day later, Jerry Manuel was no longer upset at Chase Utley's slide. He was envious.

"There is nothing wrong with a good, hard slide to break up a double play," Manuel said Saturday afternoon. "We preach that."

Those comments came merely hours after the Mets manager joined David Wright, Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey in condemning Utley, who slid hard into Ruben Tejada in an attempt to break up a double play in the fifth inning Friday. Reyes called the play "a little dirty." Wright said that the Mets will "have to reevaluate the way we go into second base."

And Manuel didn't dispute the claims of either of his star players, saying that Utley's slide was indeed late and that his players should, if given the chance, reciprocate. He just didn't have any issue with Utley's slide itself.

"I think it was a hard slide," Manuel said. "It looked like a tad bit late. But when you sleep on it, you think about it, you say, 'Hey, that's how we play.' That's the way we play the game, and you just don't see it anymore.

"I'm glad for us, because that's a style that needs to get back into the game of baseball."

Utley, for his part, also defended his action.

"I have never ever attempted to break up a double play with the intent to injure someone," the Phillies second baseman said. "I understand what it's like to be taken out. I've been kicked, kneed, elbowed, spiked and even flipped upside down. And as much as I might not have liked it at the time, I understand that it's all part of being a Major League second baseman. Second basemen have had to deal with this for over 100 years. And with that said, we as a team play the game hard and play it to win. That is not going to change."

The Mets chose not to throw at Utley in his final at-bat Friday, and Manuel said that he would prefer for his players to avenge Utley's slide in kind -- by sliding hard into second base themselves. In discussing it, Manuel hinted that it would be up to his most prominent veterans -- Wright, Reyes and Carlos Beltran -- to take action.

"If anything needs to get taken care of, those are the guys who will handle it," Manuel said.

Mets' Manuel explains late time call

PHILADELPHIA -- According to Jerry Manuel, the late timeout that ruffled Charlie Manuel had nothing to do with gamesmanship. It simply had to do with Luis Castillo.

The Mets, seeking to pinch-run for Josh Thole with two outs in the ninth inning Friday, called upon Castillo to sub. But Castillo was warming in the indoor batting cage and did not emerge right away. That prompted the Mets to ask for -- and receive -- a late timeout, which umpires did not grant until Brad Lidge had begun his windup on a pitch that could have ended the game.

Afterward, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was critical of the Mets, calling the late substitution "terrible."

Jerry chuckled at his counterpart's irritation Saturday, saying simply: "Charlie, come on Charlie."

Manuel also said that he waited until Lidge had thrown a pitch to substitute Castillo because he realized that Lidge, who allowed a stolen base to Thole earlier this season, was not paying Thole much heed at first base. The speedier Castillo, Manuel believed, might have force Lidge to divert his attention.

Misch will be in spotlight for Philly start

PHILADELPHIA -- Taking the mound for a spot start Sunday, Pat Misch will have a singular goal: prevent the Phillies from clinching.

Depending upon Saturday's action, the Phillies will arrive at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday with at least an outside shot to wrap up their fourth consecutive division title. Standing in their way will be Misch, a middling left-hander struggling to stick in the Majors.

"That's something that you probably don't even think about," Misch said of a potential clincher. "Obviously the crowd's going to be loud, and these Phillies fans can get a little crazy sometimes. They're doing well this year, and just to go out there and know that we're going to give them all we've got so we can stop them. Obviously, we don't want them to celebrate while we're here."

Misch, who will start in an effort to give both Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese some much-needed extra rest, was 0-4 with a 5.14 ERA in a four-game rotation stint earlier this season. He has appeared only in relief this September, last pitching on Sept. 19.

"I feel good, I feel strong," Misch said. "And my mind feels good as well."